April 21, 2018

Turkey repatriates gold from US in bid to ditch dollar

Turkey’s gold reserves are estimated at 564 tons and are worth about $20 billion, Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak reported. This makes Ankara the 11th largest gold holder, behind the Netherlands and ahead of India. The reports come at a time when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken a tough stance against the US currency.

Death knell tolls for the euro as more European nations repatriate gold – expert to RT

This week he criticized dollar loans and said that international loans should be given in gold instead. “Why do we make all loans in dollars? Let’s use another currency. I suggest that the loans should be made based on gold,” Erdoğan said during a speech at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Istanbul on April 16, according to Hurriyet.

“With the dollar the world is always under exchange rate pressure. We should save states and nations from this exchange rate pressure. Gold has never been a tool of oppression throughout history,” he added.

On April 11, the Turkish lira hit a record low against the dollar.

Turkey is among several countries which have been moving gold from the US. The wave began in 2012, when Venezuela announced it was repatriating 160 tons of gold, valued at around $9 billion. Germany’s Bundesbank then demanded 300 tons be returned, with the Fed saying it would take seven years to do so. The Netherlands has also repatriated 122.5 tons of gold.

“The central banks started the repatriation already a few years ago, meaning before we had Brexit, Catalonia, Trump, AFD or the rising tensions between the Politburo in Brussels and the nations of Eastern Europe,” Claudio Grass of Precious Metal Advisory Switzerland told RT.

According to him, the world is becoming less centralized. “If we follow this trend, it should be obvious that the next step should be an even bigger break up into smaller units than the nation state. With such geopolitical fragmentation comes also the decentralization of power.”

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424670-gold-turkey-repatriation-dollar/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Disaster looms over Libyan oil

Some media reports say he is dead, others insist he is alive. If we are to trust a quote by Libyan Express of the French foreign minister, Haftar is alive and recovering after medical treatment in Paris. Yet, the possibility of him losing his position of power has already fueled fears about the future of Libya and its oil wealth. These fears are very likely to stoke oil prices further.

China can succeed with petro-yuan where Gaddafi failed – killing the US dollar in oil trade

Haftar’s LNA, affiliated with the eastern Libyan government based in Tobruk and not recognized by the UN, was responsible for the revival of Libya’s oil industry after two years ago it retook the four export terminals in the Oil Crescent from the Petroleum Facilities Guard. The LNA made it possible for the National Oil Corporation to lift the country’s daily production rate to one million barrels and above. That’s up from about 300,000 bpd before the takeover of the terminals.

The task has not been easy, however, and this fact highlights the dangers inherent in what could turn out to be an inflection point for Libyan politics and oil. As one commenter, Tarek Megerisi, said, even if he is alive, Haftar is an elderly man and no certain successor for him at the helm of the LNA has been picked.

Libya’s recovering oil production has been a swing factor for oil prices since 2016. When it was on the rise, prices fell. Yet there were so many outages as various groups vied for attention and money by blockading pipelines and oilfields that prices rose on news from Libya pretty much as often as they fell on reports from the North African nation that sports the largest oil reserves on the continent.

In this context, it’s safe to assume the first thing that happens in case Haftar is incapacitated would be a resurgence of rival factions, including extremists that he squashed, seeking to regain lost ground and influence. Those intimately familiar with the situation in Libya such as Megerisi note that the LNA itself is far from a solid, coherent organization. There are internal rivalries as the army is made up of regular military personnel, tribal forces, and various militias. So, the short version of what will happen in case of Haftar’s demise is chaos.

Analysts interviewed by CNBC have suggested that if the LNA gets beheaded, its rivals—and probably parts of it—will rush to the Oil Crescent to secure control over whatever part of the oil producing and exporting infrastructure they can. Production will naturally be disrupted and so will exports, until the dust settles, if ever.

One conservative estimate of the effect of this chaos on oil production from Eurasia Group is for a 200,000-bpd decline. This is an amount substantial enough to push prices higher, especially now that global supply is tightening thanks to OPEC’s efforts, but mostly on the back of Venezuela’s strife. Exactly how high prices will jump is difficult to say, but with a sufficient degree of chaos in Libya, Brent could inch a lot closer to the $80US level that Saudi Arabia now eyes as its preferred price.

Read More on Oilprice.com: The one man who could send oil to $100

And there’s something else. Even if Haftar is alive and indeed well, chaos may resurface. Yesterday media reported that the LNA’s chief of staff survived an assassination attack with a car bomb. Though it is unclear who was behind the attempt, Libya experts believe the LNA is a blink away from internal fragmentation, which will doubtless spread outside the organization and embolden rival groups to make a power grab for the country’s oil.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424653-disaster-looms-libyan-oil/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Russia won’t halt titanium supplies to US – trade minister

The minister compared the pointlessness of such a ban with restrictions imposed by the Ukrainian authorities on exports of gas turbines used by Russian shipbuilders as part of sanctions against Moscow.

Russia to stop exporting titanium to Boeing in counter-sanctions against US – draft law

“We assume that we will not follow because that would first of all affect shipments of (titanium components producer) VSMPO-Avisma and of its Russian-American joint-venture,” Manturov said in an interview with a local TV channel. “Why take decisions that have an adverse impact on our enterprises, on our producers?”

Last week, Russian Senator Sergey Ryabukhin said that the Federation Council considered adopting the ban on titanium exports to the US as part of a counter-sanction plan. The proposed measure was reportedly in retaliation to the penalties Washington imposed on Russia earlier this month.

VSMPO-Avisma, which holds the country’s monopoly on titanium, met the claim with deep concerns, saying that Russia may lose its hard-won share on the global titanium market if the Kremlin halts exports to the US plane and spacecraft manufacturer Boeing. Avisma exports 70 percent of its titanium to Boeing and operates a joint-venture with the American plane-maker in the Urals.

According to Boeing’s Russian affiliate, the aircraft maker is projected to purchase $18 billion in Russian titanium over the next 10 years.

In early April, the US government introduced new penalties against Russia by including 24 individuals and 14 major entities in different sectors of the economy into the sanctions list. Washington accuses Moscow of “a range of malign activity around the globe.”

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424643-russia-ban-titanium-exports-us/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Russian economy resilient in face of latest US sanctions – Moody’s

The Russian banking system has sufficient earnings capacity to absorb credit losses arising from exposure to the sanctioned companies, Moody’s said. It added, however, that the sanctions will be credit negative for some Russian debt issuers, particularly for aluminum major RUSAL. The world’s second-largest aluminum producer’s shares touched an all-time low after the company was added to Washington’s latest sanctions list.

US sanctions aim to squeeze Russian firms out of global markets – Kremlin spokesman

“Russia’s sovereign credit profile — its rating is Ba1 with a positive outlook — is well positioned to withstand the impact of new sanctions,” said Kristin Lindow, Moody’s senior vice president and co-author of the report.

She added that “higher oil prices will help the government to make further progress in rebuilding its fiscal savings.”

The risk to Russia’s credit profile comes from the possibility of Russian entities being cut off from the international capital market for some time, said the rating agency.

Moody’s also said that it expects the Russian government to increase support to regions facing a fall in revenues due to the sanctions.

Another international ratings agency, Fitch, said last week the US sanctions would limit Russia’s potential economic growth and severely impact targeted companies.

Sanctions targeting seven Russian businessmen and 12 companies they own or control, as well as 17 senior Russian government officials, were imposed by the US Treasury earlier this month.

Russian deputies announced an upcoming response to American sanctions, with a possible ban on exports of titanium components to aircraft giant Boeing.

Supplies of RD-180 rocket engines used by NASA and the Pentagon may also be restricted.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424588-moodys-russian-economy-sanctions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

US defense stocks skyrocket thanks to America’s adventures in the Middle East – RT’s Keiser Report

American global aerospace and defense technology company Northrop Grumman has appreciated sevenfold since 2011, rising from $54.82 to $357.70 per share. The company is famous for building dozens of aircraft carriers for the US Navy, including the USS ‘Harry S. Truman’ and USS ‘Ronald Reagan.’

Stocks plunge, oil gold spike after Trump taunts Russia with missile strikes in Syria

Lockheed Martin, the maker of fighter jets including the trillion-dollar F-35, has enjoyed a five-fold increase in market cap, with company shares soaring from $69 in 2011 to the current $351. Producer of Tomahawk missiles, Raytheon, has also grown more by than 500 percent from $40.76 to $227 per share.

Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert point out that such a boom in stock prices for US defense contractors is unprecedented. It neither happened during the Cold War, nor in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, nor the subsequent US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

The show notes that, in accomplishing its geopolitical goals, Washington is pretty much open to burning money, as the mainstream media can attest.

After US President Donald Trump ordered missile strikes on Syria, Bloomberg reported: “The joint US, French and UK missile barrage on Syria this week included the battlefield debut of a stealthy new Lockheed Martin Corp air-launched cruise missile produced as part of a $4.6 billion defense program.”

“Nineteen missiles fired outside Syrian airspace by two B-1B bombers targeted the Barzah Research and Development Center located in the greater Damascus area. Those Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missiles, or JASSMs, joined 57 Raytheon Co. Tomahawks that Pentagon officials also said targeted the site,” it added.

Keiser Report also pointed to a news story about the failed Space X launch earlier this year as another example of the US government wasting taxpayer dollars. The Wall Street Journal reported this month that Northrop Grumman is to blame for the failure of the controversial January launch of the US spy satellite known as Zuma, which cost taxpayers around $3.5 billion.

“The Fed prints the money and the Pentagon blows it up in various countries around the world or sends the US soldiers out there to get maimed or blown up,” said Max Keiser.

Keiser and Herbert examined the theory that the boom in the defense business can actually be linked to the launch of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. They quote a 2014 article by an American public broadcaster PBS, which brands healthcare as ‘the new oil.’

“This is a pretty exciting time to be in the federal health IT space,” said Horace Blackman, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of health and life sciences. “The biggest opportunities I would point to are efforts associated with the Affordable Care Act.”

You can watch this episode of RT’s Keiser Report on Thursday at 14:30 GMT, 19:30 GMT, and 21:30 GMT.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424586-us-contractors-stock-price/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Australia’s biggest bank charged fees to dead clients

The inquiry was ordered by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last year following a series of scandals involving financial misconduct.

CBA told the Banking Royal Commission, which is the country’s top form of public hearing, that fees from customers have been regularly collected for services that had not been delivered. Some of its financial planners had billed services to deceased clients.

The evidence revealed multiple examples of misconduct by the bank’s financial advisers. In one case, an adviser knew that a client had died in 2004 but continued to charge adviser-service fees that continued for a decade. The adviser received around $65 a month in fees in 2014 and 2015.

“When asked, he said he didn’t know what to do and he had tried to contact the public trustee and had not heard back,” the CBA document stated.

Another customer of a different adviser had died in 2007 and contact was made with the client’s wife in 2013, but no action was taken to stop service fees being charged.

Airliner fueled by mustard seed oil takes flight from US to Australia

Another one of the bank’s advisers was found to have been charging service fees for multiple clients with no evidence of ongoing services being provided. He also charged fees to a dead client.

The financial advisers involved in misconduct have been penalized with warnings by the bank, CBA said.

The bank has previously faced scrutiny for alleged breaches of anti-money-laundering laws, and for providing inappropriate financial advice. Government data prepared for the inquiry showed that over 80,000 consumers have been given bad advice over the past decade, costing them around $4 billion.

The commission is due to provide a final report by February 2019. Australia’s Treasurer Scott Morrison has warned that financial executives could face strong penalties, including jail terms.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424555-australia-bank-dead-fees/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

US debt load ballooning, set to outpace some African countries in 5yrs – IMF

In five years, the American debt burden will also be worse than some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, such as Mozambique or Burundi.

US Federal Reserve rings alarm about America’s soaring debt

“In the United States, the revised tax code and the two-year budget agreement lead to an expansion in the level of economic activity until 2020. These measures will give rise to overall deficits above $1 trillion over the next three years, which is more than 5 percent of GDP. This adds to the rising trend in government debt, bringing it to 117 percent of GDP in 2023,” the IMF said in its report.

The IMF says its forecasts are similar to those recently published by the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO said the US debt “is far greater than the debt in any year since just after World War II.”

The office also predicted that the debt held by the public will rise from 78 percent of GDP (or $16 trillion) at the end of 2018 to 96 percent of GDP (or $29 trillion) by 2028. As of Monday, the US national debt stood at $21.4 trillion.

While the US economy has been growing steadily, it won’t be able to control the skyrocketing debt, according to Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at Chicago-based asset management firm Northern Trust.

“An honest accounting finds US debt headed to shockingly high levels,” he said, as quoted by CNBC. Tannenbaum added: “Sometime in the next decade we’re going to have a recession which is really going to throw us off that trajectory.”

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424543-us-debt-load-imf/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Russia won’t be cut off from international bank transfer services

Leibbrandt is in Moscow, and has again stressed that SWIFT remains politically unbiased, according to reports by RBC, Vedomosti and other Russian business media.

Strategic Russian firm dumps SWIFT in favor of domestic bank transfer alternative

The potential exclusion of Russia from SWIFT worried the country’s banks in 2014, when the EU and the US introduced the first round of international sanctions against Moscow over alleged involvement in the Ukraine crisis and the reunification with Crimea. However, SWIFT itself fended off such talk. The question was raised again this April after the latest economic sanctions against Russia.

The position of SWIFT is consistent and professional, says Russian representative on the board of directors of SWIFT, Eddie Astanin. “Earlier in 2014, and also in March this year, SWIFT made official statements that give a clear answer: SWIFT will not respond to pressure attempts and calls to disconnect financial institutions from its network,” he told Vedomosti.

Last year, Russian traffic within SWIFT grew by 40 percent to 116 million messages, and Russia has been on the board of directors of the interbank cash transfer network since 2015, along with 24 other countries, the largest users of the system.

Despite SWIFT’s promises, the Central Bank of Russia has developed an alternative domestic system for transfer of financial messages (SPFS). Russian state tech giant Rostec announced last week it will use the SPFS to make its payments safer.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424502-russia-swift-shutdown-banking/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Russia won’t be cut off from SWIFT international bank transfer services

Leibbrandt is in Moscow, and has again stressed that SWIFT remains politically unbiased, according to reports by RBC, Vedomosti and other Russian business media.

Strategic Russian firm dumps SWIFT in favor of domestic bank transfer alternative

The potential exclusion of Russia from SWIFT worried the country’s banks in 2014, when the EU and the US introduced the first round of international sanctions against Moscow over alleged involvement in the Ukraine crisis and the reunification with Crimea. However, SWIFT itself fended off such talk. The question was raised again this April after the latest economic sanctions against Russia.

The position of SWIFT is consistent and professional, says Russian representative on the board of directors of SWIFT, Eddie Astanin. “Earlier in 2014, and also in March this year, SWIFT made official statements that give a clear answer: SWIFT will not respond to pressure attempts and calls to disconnect financial institutions from its network,” he told Vedomosti.

Last year, Russian traffic within SWIFT grew by 40 percent to 116 million messages, and Russia has been on the board of directors of the interbank cash transfer network since 2015, along with 24 other countries, the largest users of the system.

Despite SWIFT’s promises, the Central Bank of Russia has developed an alternative domestic system for transfer of financial messages (SPFS). Russian state tech giant Rostec announced last week it will use the SPFS to make its payments safer.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424502-russia-swift-shutdown-banking/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Schwarzenegger’s head on caterpillar tracks drags down UK lender

Schwarzenegger’s head on caterpillar tracks drags down UK lender

According to CYBG, a mid-sized bank that owns Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank and the app-based bank B in the UK, an awareness campaign launched by British financial regulatory body the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) triggered an “elevated level of complaints” in the six months to the end of March. The lender reportedly does not expect the situation to change for some time, partially because of the awareness campaign, which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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The FCA started its regulatory campaign earlier this month. The video features a disembodied model of the ‘Terminator’ star’s head, which is calling for people to file claims for mis-sold PPI before the August 2019 deadline. The head, which is moving on caterpillar tracks, urges supermarket customers to “make a decision” and to “do it now.”

CYBG said that the media coverage evoked the profile of Britain’s costliest ever consumer scandal with people urged to buy often worthless insurance that would allegedly help them repay debts in the event of sickness or unemployment.

British lenders have reportedly put aside more than £44 billion (US$62.5 billion) to cover those claims. Most of the banks may also be forced to disclose increased provisions as they prepare to publish first quarter reports in the next two weeks. Most of the PPIs were sold to bank clientele between 1990 and 2010.

“Aggressive FCA ad campaigning and scaremongering on the part of claims management companies could mean claim volumes remain high,” analyst John Cronin at Irish broker Goodbody told Reuters.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

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